FAQs | What is a Will? | Toms River Attorney


Estate Planning Attorneys · FAQs – Estate Planning



What is a will?

A Will, or Last Will and Testament, is the document that outlines how you want your individual estate to be distributed when you pass away. A Will only controls your probate property– that which you own individually. A Will cannot control what happens to non-probate property– that you own jointly with someone else or property that already has a beneficiary designation.

Under a Will, you can decide exactly who should receive what, administer your estate, take care of your children or pets, how any taxes should be paid, and even who you would like to exclude from your estate. Contrary to popular belief, no estate is too small for a will to be extremely effective. In fact, the use of a will for a small estate can help keep as much money in the estate as possible.

Without a will, the state laws of intestacy determine who receives your estate and in what portions. In most cases, this does not mean that the state takes your estate. Having a will can save your estate money because you can waive the requirement that your beneficiaries post and renew a bond until it is fully administered. You may also be surprised at the amount of taxes a will can help save for your estate. The costs of administration and the emotional toll the intestacy process might take on your loved ones far outweigh the minimal cost of having a will prepared.

Even a simple will, drawn by a layman, can raise interpretation issues which must be resolved by expensive court proceedings. Having a Toms River estate planning attorney prepare your will can help ensure that there is no doubt about your intentions and help save money for your estate to pass on to your loved ones.

NOTE: This page is for general information only and is not to be solely relied upon.  You should consult a Toms River attorney if you have questions regarding your estate plan.

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